Intel's Nocona Xeon / Supermicro SuperServer 7044A-82R
Posted on: 08/21/2004 05:00 AM

Let's take a look at Supermicro's SuperServer 7044A-82R.

These days beige isn't exactly a hot commodity but when you're talking about a server or a high-end workstation for work, it shouldn't matter what color the chassis is. Starting at the front of the server we see a variety of LEDs. Included are a hard drive activity LED, a power LED, a system overheat LED, a power fail LED and two network activity LEDs. If you don't have all three PSUs plugged in (or one fails) the system will beep at you and the power fail LED will be activated. The power and reset buttons are also well located at the top of the chassis.

Moving down the front of the chassis we see the floppy drive and two front USB 2.0 capable ports. Further down the line we see the hot-swappable drive cage which supports five SCA SCSI drives. I've seen this same chassis with a second SCSI backplane and a second five drive cage and it looks even sexier, I assure you. The mechanism for removing the drives works pretty well. You push a button which drops the tab out towards you from the top. Pulling down on the tab and towards you removes the drive.

Sliding around to the rear of the chassis we see a couple points of interest. Obviously the triple-redundant 760W power supply is enough to get any geek excited. Furthermore, it's nice to see the inclusion of a 120mm fan at the rear for ventilation. The 120mm fan will push an awful lot of air and it really won't be uncomfortably loud.

Shall we crack the case and peek inside?

Now that is fan power. With a cage full of 15,000 rpm SCSI drives, you're going to want to ensure that any heat isn't staying around your drives. These three hot-swappable 120mm fans will ensure that hot air is pulled from the front of the chassis towards the rear where it can be expelled by the 120mm rear exhaust fan.

Take a look at the heatsinks Supermicro has shipped with this server. These heavy copper sinks should be able to keep the 3.6GHz Noconas cool, but we'll discuss that further when we take a look at the BIOS and look at temperature, fan and voltage monitoring. If you look at the picture to the far right, you should notice the anal retentive cable running. It's very clean, keeping all the cables out of the way. I love this attention to detail.

To finish things up I decided to include a picture of the PSU ratings for those of you curious how many amps it will pull on the 12v rail, or what have you. Those curious what the ATX backplate has to offer will enjoy the middle picture. We see 4 additional USB ports (for a total of 6), the dual-port NIC and all the requisite audio connections. What you won't see is integrated video. This I find somewhat surprising considering this is labelled as a "SuperServer". This means that you have to include a PCI or PCI Express video card. This, to me at least, pushes the 7044A-82R more towards the workstation category.

I should probably take a second to note that you can rackmount this chassis in the event you're going to be using it as a server. You will have to buy the optional rackmount kit, of course. The model number for the appropriate kit is: CSE-PT26.

Next on our checklist for investigation? The BIOS.

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